Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Malahide Castle!

Yesterday, we toured a nearby town and castle called Malahide. This was, for 800 years, the seat of the Talbott family, Normans who established the fort in the late 12th Century. The castle is a Norman fort (square tower) with rounded turrets added to each corner later in the 16th century.

The last Lord Talbott, who died in 1973 was "quite a plantsman," as one of our new friends, the head gardener at the castle, told us. He brought back numerous plants from his travels, many of them from Chile and Australia, and they now grow in the castle gardens. The gardens are just magnificent, and we had such a great day there, despite (or maybe because of) the rain!

The weather was fine in the early morning while we toured the castle and had a lovely lunch in the pub. The gardens opened at 2 pm. So we were there at the garden door ready to be the first ones out. And it immediately began pouring! But we were there, so we decided to go ahead and tour the gardens. Along the way we were taking cover under an unusual tree, and a garden truck drove by. Melise stopped them to ask what the tree is. It turned out that the driver of the truck was the head gardener of the castle, Barbara. She said that, since we were out touring the gardens in the pouring rain, we were obviously avid gardeners, so she told us to go to the private walled gardens on the other side of the castle, where it's a bit more protected from the weather. She said, "You'll see a green door that says 'Private--Keep Out.' Push hard on that door and go in. Tell them that Barbara sent you." So we did!

The walled gardens were just so lovely we didn't care that we were getting wet! At every turn, another surprise was revealed! A pond, a yellow garden, a maze, an amazingly beautiful Victorian glass house, and a secret garden! We found it when we met a man who worked in the garden, and he said we were near the old chicken yard. Now it has a peahen and her babies in it, so he took us there. We all oooed when we went through the little gate--it's the secret garden!

Later, we met up with Barbara again, and she toured around with us a bit. She told Melise that any time she wanted to come in, whether it's open or not, she should just find a park ranger and tell them that Barbara said she could go into the walled garden! You know she will too!! :)
We had such a lovely day! It's one of those days that I know I'll always remember.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dublin and County Meath

I've missed a day of updating, but I'm short on time, and the connection's been kind of slow. So I'll put up just a few pics of our trip to County Meath Saturday and then Dublin City yesterday. The weather in County Meath was....blustery and wet! It was a little in Dublin too, but not nearly as bad.
The above 3 pics are Monasterboice Abbey, from the 11th century. The weather was just amazingly cold and rainy, so we didn't get too many pictures! This is truly a beautiful place though--home of a group of Cistercian monks in the 11th-13th centuries. The whole place only took them 15 years to build--and it was quite extensive.

Revisiting one of my favorite places: New Grange. Pre-dates Stonehenge by a couple thousand years! They've done wonderful restoration work here since I saw it in the 80's. Visit this place if you ever have the chance! And if it's a blustery day, be sure to have a creamy Bailey's Latte at the tourist center. Yum...

Some doors of Dublin. Quite a sight!

The statue is of Oscar Wilde. It is made from all different colors of Irish marble. So his jacked is green and pink marble, shoes are black marble, etc. It was amazingly beautiful and realistic.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We were in Kildare yesterday! I of course forgot Ben Fur!

From the TOP of a round tower in Kildare! We climbed up very steep ladders up to it's 107 foot top! Wow! Going down was less fun than going up! This is St. Brigid's. There were very unusual carvings in the cathedral, including skull & crossbones! Odd!

We ate at the Silken Thomas pub--we were served the most gargantuan serving of beef that I've ever seen for lunch! Couldn't eat it all! But it was good.

We went to an Irish Government Stud Farm and learned all SORTS of interesting things!

Japanese Garden! Very lovely.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Howth, Ireland

We're at Melise's house now and got to take a lovely walk in her village this afternoon. We're eating at one of their favorite restaurants tonite.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Celebrate the Girl!

A little recap of the fun weekend we had last weekend and a celebration of the 17 short, short years that our Artist in Residence and her friends have been spicing things up around here!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Graduation Fun!

Which one is the graduate? The Artist and The Girl on graduation day!

The graduates! Hard work pays off! It was such a proud-parent day!!